There are two typical situations in which a gun owner will keep a loaded gun in his or her home. In many cases, if not most, the gun owner has the gun for protection and expects to have quick access to the gun if necessary. In other cases, a gun owner may keep a gun loaded unnecessarily or for no compelling reason. In either case, you should know that a gun in your home is more likely to be involved in the unintentional shooting of a loved one than to be used for self-defense against an intruder.
While the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association have recommended that guns be stored both unloaded and locked away, the gun owner who keeps his or her gun loaded will need to consider and implement other safety measures.
If you keep or intend to keep a loaded gun in your home, it is strongly recommended that you use a gun safe or lock box to make the gun inaccessible to children and other unauthorized users. These products range from less expensive smaller units that sometimes are equipped with a handle for easy portability to much larger and more expensive models that are designed to hold several guns.
Some gun safes or lock boxes that are intended for use with handguns have two special features. They are not only very secure, but also designed to allow quick access to a loaded gun if necessary for protection.
It is important to keep in mind that a gun that is loaded and unsecured on your property, especially when children are in the home, creates a serious safety hazard that can result in a tragic death or permanent physical disability. In some cases, parents have left loaded guns underneath furniture or in other places that are easily accessible to children based on the assumption that their child would not have access to the gun only to later experience a great tragedy that could have been prevented. Depending on the situation and the factors involved, a parent may be held liable for the gun-related injury or death of a child.